NBA’s Jason Collins and SCOTUS

John Shroder at the Article 6 Blog discusses protected groups of people.  There are two groups, those who do not have a choice (physical gender, age, race) and those who have a choice (religion, veteran, family status).

SCOTUS is seeing two cases this year on Same Gender Attraction issues, and Shroder notes that the recent coming out of the closet of Jason Collins (NBA center for the Mavericks) throws an interesting light into the subject.

Gays insist that they are born with their same sex attraction. I will not dispute that this may very well be for some gays. However, Jason Collins makes for an important issue: he is an identical twin. His twin is basically his same height and weight, they attended school and college together, etc. Yet, his twin is heterosexual.  One would think that if “gayness” was imbedded in one’s genes at birth, both twins would be leading gay lives, or at least have that same attraction.

Clearly, at least in some instances, being gay is (as Shroder calls it) a “choice,” or is affected by nurture and not just nature.  That being the case, will the SCOTUS move toward creating a new protected class (historically done via legislation), or will they find another manner to bring gays into the protected class?

Along those lines, if gays receive protected class status, what of those who “by nature” are attracted in other means? What of polygamists or those who belong to NAMBLA?  How long before other groups are given protected status, simply because we are quickly rolling down a hill with no brakes?


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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

10 thoughts on “NBA’s Jason Collins and SCOTUS

  1. Autism must be a choice, too, then, since there are sets of identical twins where one is autistic and the other not. Just like homosexuality, it is more likely that twins will both be gay or both be autistic, but not a guarantee. The ways genes are expressed goes far beyond the DNA is started from.
    This is NOT to say I think being gay is a disorder or disability like autism. This is just an example of how we don’t always know at what point a gene is triggered and it can still have nothing to do with choice.

  2. Jenn,
    I do agree. However, autism may not necessarily be something someone is born with, but DNA develops later to have those issues depending upon the environment, etc.
    The fact is, saying one is “born that way” may not really apply to gender attraction in the same way as it does to race, etc. It may very well be both nurture and nature. And that is something SCOTUS will have to figure out, if they choose to create a protected class.

  3. “And that is something SCOTUS will have to figure out, if they choose to create a protected class.”

    Why we wish to trust these issues to nine lawyers who hold a lifetime appointment is beyond me.

  4. I think there are several different issues.

    1)Are same-sex attractions a choice? Yes and no. You can have attractions and you can decide to concentrate on them or ignore them. In some cases, peoples’ attractions can change over time, and in others they cannot. Both nature and nurture are factors here.

    2)Is same-sex activity a choice? Definitely. We are not slaves to our attractions. We can choose to act or not act.

    3)I am not really convinced that the “Jason Collins is a twin” argument is relevant based on these two points.

  5. Shroder leaves out several important points.

    One is that he doesn’t separate same-sex attraction from homosexual acts. Acting upon one’s attraction is a choice. Our prophets and apostles have indicated this is a very important distinciton.

    Two, what Ram briefly mentions: nurture. What about post-natal influences, environmental, psychological, and social?

    Three, Jenn rightly points out that even though the twins started out with identical DNA from one zygote that eventually formed two embryos, that does not guarantee that all subsequent cell division and DNA replication processes maintained exact copies thereafter.

    Fourth, there are non-genetic influences on the developing fetus in the womb. The mother’s health, activities, nutrition, and hormones (or body chemistry overall) also play an important part in healthy fetal development. It would seem likely but there’s no guarantee that twins receive identical influence in regards to those factors.

    I’ve lost the reference to it, but I remember reading about one study that showed a link between elevated levels of a certain hormone in mothers during pregnancy with an increased incidence of effeminacy in their sons. If true, it could support a “born that way” hypothesis, aside from a genetic cause.

    Fifth, and again I regret losing the link, there’s an essay on the web about how we are all born with negative human traits that most of us learn to overcome. For instance, we are all born selfish, self-centered, and demanding. Being “born a certain way” does not automatically condemn us to continue those ways.

    Another point, though not necessary germane to Shroder’s thesis, is what about those who are sexually attracted to both sexes, or predominantly attracted to one sex, but choose to have sexual contact with both? What about bisexuals, or those who engage in sex with both genders by choice? (David Bowie, Freddie Mercury?) What about those who only engage in homosexual acts while in prison? Isn’t that a choice, at least on the part of the dominant parties?

    Also left out of polite discussion are a not insignificant percentage of released prisoners who continue to engage in homosexual acts in addition to heterosexual acts.

    The public debate appears to focus too much on a static analysis of what SSM will bring about. I believe more thought needs to go into how this change is going to affect future generations.

    The “Great Society” welfare programs of the 1960’s, no-fault divorce, and removing the stigma of out-of-wedlock births had unintended consquences, and especially so among the generations who came *after* those who made the decisions to implement those changes.

    It’s interesing that the opinions of psychologists and child-development professionals aren’t heard in the media in regards to this topic. It seems that the media is playing a strong hand in framing the debate.

  6. All great comments. Yes, Shroder could have discussed more avenues of thought, however I think he was trying to focus in on one clear point: the concept of whether giving protective status would be based upon nature or nurture (choice or no choice), and if so will SCOTUS choose to create a protective class or give it back to the legislatures to do so.

  7. The serious problem that this poses for the homosexual agenda is that the only “hypothesis” they have put forth involve the “born that way” lie. They first tried genes, but lacking the ability to show a single shred of evidence for that viewpoint, they’ve tried a “hormonal environment in the mother’s womb” which still lacks any credible evidence. This identical twin gay basketball player at least shows that in 1 case, this is not true.

    Instead, we should be investigating post-birth environment including sexual-abuse by gay men, pornography, hyper-sexualization of our society.

    No boy should have to question his sexuality because he’s molested by a gay person. But they do.

  8. I have always wondered about homosexuality because there are people who are heterosexual, then go to homosexuality, then back to being heterosexual, get married and have kids.

    What about transgender people? Are people really born into the wrong sex? ( I am not talking about children who are born with both sets of male and female organs and then the parents have to decide which sex to make the child through surgery.) Do being exposed to drugs in utero cause this problem in some instances? Some transgender people claim exposure to a certain class of drugs in the womb caused their gender identity crisis.

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